UBC celebrates passionate teachers who make a difference


KELOWNA - Two UBC professors, nominated by their students, were honoured last week for their innovative and collaborative teaching methods at UBC Okanagan.

Each year, a senior and junior faculty member is congratulated for making a difference in the classrooms, labs, and on campus.

“We are here to honour outstanding teachers who inspire students and prepare them to achieve remarkable things—contributing to their communities and the world, building a better future for all,” said Wisdom Tettey, Dean of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. “Today we recognize those professors, teaching assistants, and tutors who go above and beyond to make exceptional contributions to student learning on our campus.”

Stephen Porter, Professor of Psychology in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, was named the senior faculty winner of the Teaching Excellence and Innovation award. Porter is co-founder of UBC’s Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Sciences and Law, and helped establish the undergraduate forensic specialization program, an option which enables undergraduate students to engage in forensic psychology-related research while also gaining hands-on experience in forensic settings.

Porter is described by his students as a dynamic teacher who effortlessly connects teaching and research at the undergraduate and graduate levels, while at the same time encouraging and motivating his students to challenge themselves and excel in their learning.

He is consistently ranked highly by his students, earning recognition for teaching excellence in four of his six years since arriving at UBC.

The junior faculty member Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation was presented to Ray Taheri, senior Engineering instructor. While introducing Taheri, UBC Okanagan Provost and Vice-Principal, Cynthia Mathieson, described him as ‘a shining light for the School of Engineering’ and ‘an exemplary individual.’

“Dr. Taheri approaches teaching as a way of life,” said Mathieson. “His enthusiasm and dedication to his students are evident in his lectures and seminars, and in the extra problem-solving sessions he offers students. He is an excellent teacher and a true innovator who consistently delivers undergraduate courses of very high quality.”

The Teaching Excellence and Innovation Awards consist of a $3,000 cash prize. Porter and Taheri join the UBC Okanagan Academy of Teaching Excellence and will participate in the selection process for future teaching award nominees.

In addition to the teaching awards, faculty members were also recognized with honour roll distinctions. Winners are listed below by their faculty:

Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences
- Stephen Brown
- Tammy Davies-Makhloufi
- Fes de Scally     
- Mary Forrest
- David Geary     
- Mark Holder     
- Susan Holtzman                              
- Adam Jones     
- Janet Kluftinger
- Ramon Lawrence
- Maya Libben
- Michael Lynch 
- Susan Murch
- Ed Neeland
- Mark Rheault
- Christopher Schneider 
- Christine Schreyer
- Jessica Stites Mor

Faculty of Education
- Stephen Berg
- John Tyler Binfet
- Scott Douglas

School of Engineering
- Ali Ahmadi
- Wilson Eberle
- Mark Ishack      

Faculty of Management
- Jana Martin

Faculty of Health and Social Development
- Philip Ainslie
- Nicole de Bosch Kemper 
- Jonathan Little
- Alison McManus
- Chris McNeil
- Manuela Reekie
- Kathy Rush
- Zoe Soon

Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
- Martin Blum
- Allison Hargreaves
- Marianne Legault
- Edmond Rivere
- Jordan Stouck

Also presented was the Provost’s Award for Teaching Assistants and Tutors to recognize outstanding undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants and tutors for their contribution to academic life on campus. Winners of this award are:
- Alex Cloherty   
- Daniella DeCoffe
- Lindsay Diehl
- Jeff Kerkovius
- Saber Moradi   
- Joanne Taylor

This is the eighth year UBC Okanagan has hosted the teaching innovation and excellence awards.

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